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Return Mandahl Salt Pond to the People


Dear Source:
As members of Friends of Mandahl, we strongly object to development of fragile Mandahl Salt Pond/lagoon and the surrounding land totaling 23.53 acres of government leased land into a fully-developed marina with up to 110 boat slips and moorings along with by timeshare units, bars, restaurants, retail, and a 300 room upscale hotel, swimming pools, artificially enhanced beach, and more.
Yes, our government in their typical short sighted vision has given away our precious natural resources with a stroke of the pen on November 6, 2014 to the developers for The Port of Mandahl. Imagine all of this commercial activity taking place amidst this 1993 designated Area of Particular Concern (APC) and Area for Preservation and Restoration (APR)? And even though CZM denied their permits to develop in March 2009, the developers finally found a favorable atmosphere in this lame duck Administration at the 11th hour in November 2014.
In 1945 the U.S. Federal Government deeded this acreage and more to the Municipality of St. Thomas and St. John (as it was then known) they set restrictions on the gift. The property was conveyed for ‘educational and other related community purpose only…’ So in April 1964, when Governor Ralph Paiewonsky granted the Hans Lollick developers a lease on the Mandahl Salt Pond and adjacent land, he was wrong. And he breached the covenants in the deed. When subsequent administrations approved assignments of the Lease to a series of new developers they were wrong. But many wrongs certainly do not make a right. Governor de Jongh and his Administration were wrong to grant a new 99 year lease on Parcel 33 Mandahl to the Port of Mandahl developers. We cannot go back and right a wrong. However, when the developer asked for a new Lease this Administration could have said no. And the new lease is much more advantageous than the old Lease.
Mandahl Bay and the Mandahl Salt Pond historically has been used by locals and visitors alike for swimming, snorkeling, surfing, fishing, boating, bird watching, picnicking, and simply relaxing. How can those pursuits live side by side with this massive development? In 2007 Camp Umoja was granted a permit for their eco-camp on over 11 acres adjacent to the Salt Pond. The Francis family has encouraged gentle use of all the land, beach and waters with their commitment to educating everyone on the importance of conservation of the natural resources. How can this ever fit with development actually feet away from this eco-camp? All the residents of Mandahl built and bought their properties with the secure knowledge that the land around them and within eyesight and earshot of their homes was residentially zoned R-1. How does that fit with the potential re-zoning requests of the developer that will be necessary to build this massive project?
So we ask that everyone get active and contact Senators and demand that the current lease not be ratified, not in this 30th Legislature and not in the 31st Legislature, not ever! Senators, we are counting on you to do the right thing. Reject ratification of any lease agreement for Parcel No. 33 Mandahl.
Governor-elect Mapp, do the right thing that no Governor before you has had the courage and conviction to do. Return Parcel 33 Mandahl including the Salt Pond back to the People of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Do not disappoint us. We are counting on you. Thank you.
Please keep up to date at www.SaveMandahlBay.com
Sharon E. A. Hupprich
Fred C. Hupprich
Sharon E. A. Hupprich
Frederick C. Hupprich
Members, Friends of Mandahl (St. Thomas)


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